Why I chose Shapeoko

I did a bunch research and I got it down to 2 machines, the Shapeoko Pro XXL and one other one. I was going back and forth. I finally had to do one of those pros and cons list. :slight_smile:

Both have good reviews on the web. So I needed to start looking a bit deeper than just the machine and then the choice became obvious to me.

In no particular order here are some of my pro thoughts on the Shapeoko ;

I wanted a headless system as my shop it not computer friendly. There is a great discussion between Carbide and the Community group using a Raspberry Pi. This is 2 points. 1. It was great to see Carbide working with their users and the users helping Carbide. 2. Most of all my other equipment uses Pi’s, they make a great dedicated appliance. They handle the environment well and just do their job. I also believe it opens up things to more creativity from a larger audience. It gives me the ability to customize my tools to what I need. I am building a custom enclosure and building this into it and I cant do this with a laptop. (FYI. it works great, I love it )

I called each company as I had some questions for each. Carbide was great, They answered all my questions. Gave me some great advice. Helped me with the purchase and followed up with an email.

I checked out the manual online. The manual they give you is great, lots of nice color pictures, they break the assembly into chapters, They layout everything you need for each chapter. I found it very easy to follow. They even include all the tool, straps, extra parts, Loctite “assembled by” tag and felt pen, I was impressed.

Free shipping is always nice. It is just nice that I don’t need to worry about it.

It was a complete kit for me, everything I needed in one shipment, I just needed to add a router. I added the Carbide one which they put into the same package.

I checked out the Community Sites. I saw lots of good helpful people and Carbide was involved and helping out. I saw a thread on the other guys site of the community beating a person up for having a newbie opinion. Then he got defensive and it went way off topic.

I found Carbide’s site is very helpful by providing good documentations and reference material and pointing to all kinds of good sites with further material. If there is good information out there, they were not afraid to point to it and share it with their users.

Carbide provides their own software with good reviews but you are not limited to it, which also contributes to the complete package.

When I was looking, we are in trying times which has made availability of inventory tough for a lot of companies along with other industry challenges. 3 to 6 month delays. I was surprised that they were still shipping in a couple of days. To me that meant they have been working hard to make sure everything is still in place to meet their customers needs.

Shapeoko has been around for awhile and is tried true and tested, yet Carbide appears not to be afraid to move ahead with new ideas as the industry keeps evolving. I have to say that the other machine had some great new ideas and is very nice, a newer company with some fresh ideas and I believe is a bit of a game changer for the industry. However I felt I did not have the luxury to take chances.

In addition to a good warranty and the “let us make it right” approach Shapeoko offers a “30 Day User Error Warranty”.

The more I looked, the more it kept painting a good picture that Carbide does not just make machines, they are the whole package. If they took this much attention to the packaging, manuals, web site, Community and … then to me that speaks volumes to their values as a whole.

Both Machines are good machines, both headless, The deciding factors basically came down to a complete kit, Tried True and Tested back by a Company and Community with good values.

When I got the machine, sweet, I was not wrong.



Good to hear and welcome to the community!
Looking forward to seeing some of your work here

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Congratulations on the awesome purchase!

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I’m in the same boat as you and I echo many of the points you made. I even ordered one machine from the other company to get in the 3 month delivery line until my mind is made up. I would have pulled the trigger by now with Shapeoko, but they will not allow a switch to the HDZ at the time of purchase of a Pro. If buying at the time of purchase I would be left with paying extra money just to have 2 Z-carriages. On principle this seems odd that they wouldn’t allow a substitute with a modest decrease in the upgrade cost ($50?) at the time of initial purchase.

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Sounds familiar, anyone remember the Millright debacle on Reddit?

Why so cryptic talking about the alternative? It is surely not a sign of an open community when you can’t even mention the name of alternatives.

And can I ask why is Rasberry Pi compatibility a big deal? Is it some sort of philosophical stand?

Welcome! Nobody’s perfect and everybody’s needs are different. There are definitely standouts that float around the forum threads that elevate the rest of the community. Happy chip making!

Hello. New here. Bought a used XL. Been using it for a year now and want to add a laser from jtech. Question is do I have a 1, 2 or 3? Serial number is 5232. Just need to know because Jtech has lasers for 1 and 2 or 3. Thanks for the help.

My intent was to try to be positive on why I chose this machine as apposed to why I didn’t choose the other machine.

As for the Pi, my shop is not computer friendly. I really don’t wish to have my laptop in that environment. I also use the Pi quite often for other projects, i.e. 3D printing with Octopi, Streaming web cams, etc I have several of them running. They don’t need a fan, so they are not sucking dust in, they don’t go to sleep, they don’t need to do updates, they are affordable, once they are up and running they simply do the job. For my 3D printer, I printed a new cover and embedded the Pi right into the machine enhancing it capability. I will do the same for this machine and embed another Pi into the enclosure. It will give my machine wifi, BT, web cams, VNC, Joystick, wireless keyboards, etc. I have 7 USB devices currently plugged in to it. Not that my laptop cant do this, but I don’t wish to dedicate a laptop to this and I don’t want to re-plug everything back in each time, or have other software that may impact my operation. For me, it is simply nice to just turn it on and have everything ready to go. And if the environment breaks it, well it is under $50.00 IMHO it keeps it simple, gives me nice flexibility, and more stability and sustainability than my laptop could.
Some may disagree however this is my opinion based on other machines and services I run.
Hope that answers your questions.

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An XL w/ a serial number would be a Shapeoko 3.

It can be a good idea to let the Pi do the updates and security patches but, no, not absolutely essential.

Would that be a Prusa by any chance? I keep meaning to do that bit but the blu-tac holding my Pi to the Z axis extrusion is still working so I never get round to it :wink:

Just a Ender 3 For my first 3d Printer :slight_smile: The Pi with OptoPi is embedded under the control panel now and is all hard wired in :slight_smile: Very nice option :slight_smile: Web cam so I can remote watch it :slight_smile:
I have used it to make some wire covers for the Shapeoko. Thanks to CNCInspiration on another thread here. Having Fun :slight_smile:

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great. Thank you so much.

Thanks for sharing this information.

I lack knowledge about much of what you said: can you post some photos of the user interface when you get up and running? Is the Pi serving only as a VNC server or is there local control as well? Do you use the joystick like a mouse or is it to jog the machine?

In my mind the people who do this are people who like to experiment or to prove a point. I would guess most of us are not in places where it would be overly difficult to borrow or trade for an old laptop.

The Pi is just a small mini computer. It uses a Linix based graphical user interface (GUI) like windows. It is a very small version of Linux. Raspberry has made the install very easy to get up and running. The way I do it is to run their little install utility on a windows machine. It writes the Raspbian ( small version of Linux) Operating System (OS) to a SD card. You just put that in the Pi, plug in a USB keyboard and mouse, plug in a HDMI monitor and turn it on. wait and it will boot into it GUI. Far simpler then loading Windows :slight_smile: Pi’s don’t need a hard drive they can run on the SD card. You can go into the configuration/setup and change the default password and set the time zone, etc,
You now have a small windows ish operating system (OS). You now download Carbide’s CM for Raspberry Pi, drop it on the desktop and install it as per the instructions. Then run the program. it is the same as the windows version but it running on a Pi that fits in your hand.

The Pi has 4 USB port built in, I have a XBOX joystick, the OS already know what a XBOX joystick is so it is really plug and play. I have one of those mini keyboards with a glide pad, a mouse and a USB numeric pad for keyboard jogging, Right now, I am playing with all the options. so they are all working:) I can jog with any of them and again it is that simple, just plug them in. I do really like the Xbox controller and it is my go to right now. However that only works in JOG mode so you also need a mouse. (on a side note I have seen XBOX joystick emulate a mouse, that would be real awesome if it could jog with the buttons and emulate the mouse with the joystick, wink wink :slight_smile: , but that is for another thread :slight_smile: )

Pi’s have Blue Tooth, Wifi and Ethernet all built in, Just join it to the network. It can get files from the network and I can send it files, That is all you need. I however like to install some extras. VNC ( Virtual Network Computing ) is built in, I can remotely connect and control the PI like I was standing in front of it, You just need to turn it on and configure it. Then install the client side on your windows machine or … I then installed a webcam using a Linux program, It takes a bit more Linux knowledge, I don’t recommend it as someone should always be there monitoring the machine as it runs. It was just fun to set up. There are all kinds of options, Turning on the enclosure lights and vacuum … all fun but not needed :slight_smile:

When I am done, I just turn it all off, leaving it all plugged in and ready to go for the next job.
Once I know my exact preferred configuration, I will embed it all into the enclosure. The Pi just mounts under the deck. and I will build in all the wiring. It will just become an extension of the machine.
The Pi is powerful enough for this kind of stuff, it does not have enough computing power to do G-code simulating. It is not working that hard so it needs no fan that sucks dust in, although I do recommend, a heatsink kit.

This is far far cheaper then dedicated PC or Laptop. It keeps things real simple and the Pi has no problem running in this environment. And if something does break oh well, it is not my laptop :slight_smile:

When I get it all nicely install, I will post some pictures :slight_smile:
I hope you find this helpful


Echo your comments. I have high expectations of the company and product. Generally they are well met.

It’s why I continue to push on them for Carbide Motion improvements. With the Pro, and now HDM, they are now entering a segment where you will find an increasing number of advanced/power users. A lot of their competitors fall short in the sending space (can’t use Pi, 3rd party support… Axiom uses a pretty archaic DSP needing sneaker-net transfer of gcode, no tool probing/toolchange support).

I don’t want to look at other senders (eg. gSender), I’d prefer staying in the ecosystem :slight_smile: BitSetter + tool changing is insane. Can’t wait for a spindle launch in 2022 and the ability to control RPM. (Hell, Axiom spindle RPM is still manual as well!!!)


Hello Julien , my name is Thierry and I’m from France , I have read something from you about Shapeoko and made an 4th Axis with a Proxxon Lathe , if you want we can take about this in French , because my english is very poor , I give you my mail [EDITED OUT] , I really want have some information about this , because I want to make somme Dollhouse furniture , thank u in advance for your answer
See you soon , Thierry

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Hi Thierry,

Sure, let’s have a private discussion in French, I will send you a private message.
note: I removed your private email from the post for privacy concerns.

Welcome to the best community of bit-breakers out there.
I bought my first SO a few years back and have in my shop the SOPro XL.
If I’ve ever had a problem the pro’s at Carbide have taken care of me like no other.
The community here helps each other a lot and will help you grow with your machine.
You made a great choice and in my opinion the best choice.


Welcome Matthew. Post what you do so we can all learn.